By: Donna Darovich, ANN columnist
Nothing separates men from women like movies, and the title alone widens the gap.
In example, Tommie Lee Jones and Meryl Steep are two of our favorite actors, but I knew the gentle title of their latest film, “Hope Springs,” meant I would be seeing it by myself or with a girlfriend.
If it were “Hope Mutilates,” different story.
Likewise, if the “The Joy Luck Club” had it been “The Joy Luck Fight Club” we would have enjoyed the story of three Chinese mothers and four daughters sharing stories about their last bout.
Apparently, there are 10 commandments/criteria for this gender chasm.
Any title that suggests the movie’s plot involves planning a wedding, disrupting a wedding or an actual wedding makes it for women-only, sneeringly referred to as a “chick flick.” So most of us had the popcorn to ourselves for”My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “The Wedding Planner” and “Bridesmaids.”
Of course, movies that involve causing mayhem at a wedding are okay (“The Wedding Crashers”), as are films in which the groom is misplaced before the wedding and some of the groomsmen and/or best man are disfigured (missing lost teeth and bad tattoos) or accidentally marry an exotic dancer (“The Hangover”).
Any title including a reference to women’s clothes gets a “no way” – like “The Devil Wears Prada” (although I did get a “Does the devil kill anyone?” and if I had said “with a chainsaw” he would have been sitting next to me.)
A title with a reference to women buying clothes also gets a nay –like “Confessions of a Shopaholic” although if she were confessing in the back of a cab, naked, it might get a “Yes.”
Worse than a movie with a reference to women’s clothes is one in which the clothes are almost a character or any title that smacks of sorority. That meant “27 Dresses” and “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” earned a double “no way” and “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” got a Facebook YGTBK (You’ve Got to Be Kidding).
The name of a flower is suspect subject matter although “Steel Magnolias” at least got a raised eyebrow rather than “no way” because of the apparently masculine word “steel.” But one preview of Julia Roberts referring to passion pink as her”signature color” trumped “steel.”
That movie also falls in the “somebody dies and everybody cries” category of films that get a masculine eye roll. I almost got him to “Beaches” when I hinted there would likely be surfing scenes, which meant a possibility of sharks ripping off limbs.
No, movies about female emotions (“Terms of Endearment” and”Mean Girls”) get an “I’ll take a pass.” And if those emotions are put in writing, it’s worse. So “The Notebook,” “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Bridgette Jones Diary” were all mine – even though I tried to pass off the first one as Tony Romo’s playbook.
Strangely (to me) any title that includes a version of the word/deed “sleep” (“While You Were Sleeping,” and “Sleepless in Seattle”) is off limits – unless characters are sleeping because they are dead or near-dead. Quentin Tarantino could remake both male-friendly with “While You Were Sleeping I Cut Off Your Fingers” and “Sleepless in Seattle Because Someone Stapled My Eyes Open.”
And there is one last category that gets a “nay” simply out of skittishness about what the film might be about – “Failure to Launch.”
But we won’t go there.
Donna Darovich is a self-pronounced “recovering journalist,” humorist and song parodist.